The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Internal Revenue Code

26 U.S.C. 6103

As an external customer, before submitting your Freedom of Information Act request, you should know that statute precludes the release of certain information. Please review some frequently asked questions as they apply to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

  1. What are the provisions of 26 U.S. C. 6103?

    26 U.S.C. 6103, controls the disclosure of tax returns and tax return information collected under the Internal Revenue Code. "Return and return information shall be confidential, and except as authorized by this title... no officer or employee of the United States ... shall disclose any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or employee or otherwise..."

  2. What is Tax Return Information?

    Any "data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the Secretary [or TTB] with respect to a return or with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence, of liability (or the amount thereof) of any person under this title for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition, or offense."

  3. What types of information is considered ‘Return Information’?

    Return information includes, but is not limited to:
    • Taxpayer’s identity
    • The nature, source or amount of his income
    • Payments and Receipts
    • Deductions and Exemptions
    • Credits, Assets, and Net worth
      • Liabilities
      • Tax liability, Tax withheld, and Tax payments
      • Subject to an investigation or audit

  • What activities are prohibited under section 6103?
    • (a) No return information may be disclosed to any party not entitled to receive it under the permissible disclosures outlined in § 6103.
    • (b) No one is entitled to unlimited access to the return information TTB handles. You may access return information only when there is a need to know for tax administration purposes.

Page last reviewed: June 4, 2015
Page last updated: October 16, 2015
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division

TTB
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